Column: Become a hero in 2019, get a cookie

Donating blood is an excellent new year’s resolution for those looking to become lifesavers

Wondering what resolution to make in the new year? How about becoming a hero in your community and saving lives? Trust me, it’s easier than you think.

The selfless act of giving blood can save someone’s life and only takes about an hour out of your day to do. Not to mention, you’re rewarded for your gift with a cookie — seems like a pretty sweet setup if you ask me!

The blood bank is always looking for donors to match the rising need for blood donations and it’s never been easier to find out if you’re eligible to donate. Simply visit Canadian Blood Services at www.blood.ca and take the two-minute eligibility quiz and it will determine if you are a good candidate for blood donation. You can also learn more about other donations the society accepts such as stem cells, plasma or organs and tissues.

Once you’ve done the quiz, you can even book your first appointment online. Penticton currently runs donation clinics out of the South Main Drop-in Centre, so you don’t even have to leave the city to make your appointment.

Canadian Blood Services is working hard to be even more inclusive for segments of the population who could not previously donate, like men who have sex with men. Currently, those in this demographic must wait one year after sexual contact with another man before they can donate, but in 2018 the society submitted a request to Health Canada to reduce the waiting period to three months.

Those who identify as transgender can also donate, but may face a waiting period of one year if they have undergone lower gender-affirming surgery. These established wait periods are not a result of discrimination, but an effort to ensure the safety of donors and recipients and they are constantly changing due to ongoing research.

Donating blood is an excellent way to be charitable if you are unable to make a monetary donation, and you can even turn it into a regular activity to do with friends and family. The society runs a donor recognition program, so those that are feeling competitive can try to outrank each other.

It doesn’t take much to be a hero and give back to the community around you. Just 450 millilitres of blood and an hour of your time. Oh, and don’t forget the cookie!

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.

Jordyn Thomson | Reporter
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